Locked away in her bedroom, atop her disheveled bed sheets, Lovely Mari thrashed back and forth and rolled around. She cried out and wailed; she kicked up her long legs in striped stockings and and pumped her cute feet in the air. She pounded the mattress with her fists, slammed her head repeatedly into her cushy pillows, and let out a prolonged moan.

“Bored, bored, bored, BORED!”

It was a lovely summer afternoon in the Forest of Magic, but even lovely days can drain all the ideas out of someone’s head, especially if there have been too many of them. The powerful little witch thought about creating a thunderstorm, just to liven things up, but that seemed like too much effort. Business had been slow in her magic shop, as well: it wasn’t that she needed the money, but business meant interesting visitors with unusual and fascinating stories to share.

“Why ain’t there anything to do around here?” she whimpered. “Drummond!”

The tiny little SWAT Operative was sitting cross-legged on her tea table, attempting to translate one of her many mystical tomes. “Yes, my goddess?” he called out in a strong voice: Lovely Mari had gifted him the ability to speak loud enough to hear when he needed it.

“Give me something to do-o-o-o-o-o!” Mari rolled to her enormous chest and parked her chin on her palms, glaring at him.

He took a deep breath. This was the twelfth time the beautiful and capricious giantess had interrupted his focus, and he was disciplining himself to accept it. He walked up to the edge of the table and sat there, swinging his legs in the void not far from Mari’s face. “Well, I’m sure we can work this out together.” He stared up into her crimson eyes with wide, heart-shaped pupils and spoke in reassuring tones. “Why don’t you destroy Houston?”

Mari blew a raspberry at him. “I already took out Green Bay, Detroit, and Cleveland, Drummond. Houston’s boring.”

“Well, what about transdimensional travel?” This always took a long time, and Drummond was confident he could make a breakthrough in translation while she was gone. “I know for a fact you have a list of some extrasolar planets you’ve been meaning to check out.”

“I’ve already seen all the cool ones!” Her head slipped out of her palms and buried in her eiderdown. “Just the stupid ol’ ones are left!” Her voice was muffled in linen and down stuffing.

“The ‘hot Jupiter’ planet orbiting 51 Pegasi isn’t stupid.”

“That’s the stupidest one of all!”

Drummond felt disarmed. He’d had a daughter—before the messy divorce and custody battle—and though she was several years younger than this giantess, it looked like Mari was still stuck in that earlier stage of development. He had no tools to cope with a tantrum like this, had no idea how to calm his daughter down, seemingly no empathy with women at all. Probably why his wife left, he figured.

All he could do was come up with ideas, each of which were shot down. Treasure-hunting was dumb; building a castle at the bottom of the ocean was lame; firing Master Sparks up into the sky to see what came down was idiotic. Drummond rubbed his temples to soothe his mounting headache and realized that he was hungry.

“Do you know anything about mushrooms, Mari?” he asked the top of her skull.

The giantess raised her beautiful face. “Duh! I run a magic shop! I know more about mushrooms than you know about…” She narrowed her eyes at him. “…like, police-stuff or whatever.”

He smiled gently. “I’m not talking about magic mushrooms. I mean the lion’s mane mushroom, the one that tastes like crab.”

Mari’s eyes went huge. “Wait, what?”

“And maitake mushrooms. If you find an old one, you can dry it out, powderize it, and bake it into bread.”

“What the fuck?!” Mari’s face broke into a radiant grin. She rocketed off her bed, her frilly black skirt twirling around her thighs, and began tearing through one of her overburdened bookcases, whooping when she found the one about mushrooms. Flipping through its pages, she looked up the pictures of the mushrooms in question and made notes of several others.

Hurriedly she tugged her 18-hole kneeboots on, cast a cantrip to lace them up, and scooped up the SWAT officer in her hands. “Drummond! I love you for, like, five seconds!” she cried, tearing his shirt open and slathering him in her wide, pink tongue before tossing him back to the tea table. Her boots stampeded out of the room and thundered down the stairs as she went to look for a large basket.

“I’ll be back in an hour or three!” she called up to him. “I dunno! Whatever!” And she slammed the door behind her, charging off into the Forest of Magic, singing a bright little song of destruction and mayhem.

The little man in soaked black BDUs picked himself up and bent his head slightly, listening for the excited young goddess running around the house and plunging into the woods. After a moment he glanced back at the collection of small buildings in the corner of Mari’s bedroom. The library, sitting in front of the mass of architecture, had a tiny head poking in the window. Drummond nodded at it and hopped down from the table onto the red rug.

He’d learned that his descent was slower here, at his size, than it had been back on Earth. He was also pretty sure they were no longer on Earth, or else in a strange parallel version of it. The one solar chart he’d been permitted to glance at was unrecognizable, but that didn’t mean they were in it.

The door of the library opened and a teenage boy emerged. “Is she gone?”

Drummond frowned. “I wouldn’t have given you the all-clear if it weren’t all-fucking-clear. You need to learn to trust me here.”

The teen shrugged and apologized. He looked especially pathetic, his pale, underdeveloped body in slightly baggy borrowed clothes, holding one elbow and staring at the large bedroom. “Is she really scary? Is she gonna be pissed if she finds me here?”

“I promise you, she’s capable of anything.” Drummond didn’t know this, but it was a useful story to inspire loyalty in this soft and undisciplined kid. “I’ll explain it to her when the time’s right. In the meantime, you’re safe in this city. I talked her into supplying a modicum of power,” he waved at a small glowing orb, connected to the buildings by a thin cable, “and we hardly need any food at all, relatively speaking. You just have to lay low for the time being.”

The teen sniffed and shuffled his bare feet. “But I get bored.”

Drummond pinched the bridge of his nose, closed his eyes and sighed.

 *   *   *

Lovely Mari’s chunky black sole pounded the turf, and the soil rippled with the impact. Her successive footfalls were fainter and farther away, and eventually a head of shaggy brown hair poked up out of the grass by her house.

“She gone?” said a raspy voice beside him. “Andon? You see her?”

Andon nodded, a grin creeping across his face. “Took off like a shot. She’s after somethin’ and it ain’t us. Let’s go!” He bent and lifted a small portal in the soil, and two more tiny people like him crawled out. A pudgy man with a round face and slick black hair huffed a bit, then hauled out their third companion, a wiry young woman with piercing green eyes and reddish hair pulled back in twin ponyfalls.

Immediately she took a defensive position and sniffed the air. “Did you even check for squirrels or anything? Idiot.”

Andon laughed, a throaty and slightly dopey sound. “It’s all right, Pavla. We’re totally clear. All we gotta do is move fast, grab what we need, an’ we’re outta here before she even knows what happened.”

The pudgy guy kicked the portal shut and trotted over to the corner of the house. Peeking around, he waved his friends up. Pavla shot Andon a cold glare as they ran around and sprinted for the front door of Mari’s cabin. They squeezed themselves through the gap beneath the door, though of course the pudgy one got wedged halfway through.

Andon and Pavla swore, grasped his meaty paws, and heaved back with all their might, and he emerged with a comical poot. “I think if yer too big to fit under the door, Mecho, yer too big to eat anything y’kin find in here!” Andon patted his friend’s large belly.

Grumbling, Mecho said, “This way,” and they charged off to where they knew the larder was.

 *   *   *

Deep in the woods, Lovely Mari’s day was indeed turning around! She darted from tree to tree, lean legs pumping hard as she sprang about, and that went on for around ten minutes before Mari decided she didn’t need to spring upon the mushrooms in surprise.

The wicker basket hanging on her forearm was still mostly empty, but not entirely: right off the bat she found a striking cluster of orange chanterelles, and according to her book these could be sliced and sauteed in butter and simmered in a stew! Her mouth was watering already and she couldn’t believe her luck at finding such a good score without even trying.

 *   *   *

Drummond and the teen poked through the cathedral to see what was still in there. While Mari’s magic had tidied up the library, she hadn’t extended the same service to most of the other buildings, it seemed. They hauled rubble aside, righted candle holders, and collected all the hymnals in one corner.

“Why do you think she collects these?” the boy asked the SWAT officer. “The buildings, I mean.”

“Everyone needs a hobby.” But he’d been wondering the same thing.

“Is it because they’re all beautiful?”

“That’s as good a guess as any.”

The teen shook the plaster and broken glass off a broad white cloth that covered an altar. “I was thinking it’s either that, or they represent a conquest or something.”

Drummond paused, then dragged a pallet of crumbled stone out the door and dumped it.

“Do you know where all these buildings came from, though?”

Drummond shrugged.

“Were there people in them when she took them? Do you know what happened to them?” He flinched when the officer dropped what he was holding and turned to stare at him.

“Kid, you do not want to know. Believe me on this.” Drummond stared at him a little longer before kicking the wooden doors open and hauling the rubble outside.

 *   *   *

“There’s hardly enna-thin’ here!” Andon was crawling around on all fours, behind the furniture where food was stored and under the sink where food was prepared. “Not a slice, not a crumb!”

Mecho ran his hands along the base of the larder. “And the doors are charmed shut. If we don’t know what word she used to get in here, we’re out of luck.” He rubbed his palm over his jowl.

Pacing irritably, Pavla abruptly froze in her tracks, waving her friends into silence. “Did you hear that?” she hissed.

The men’s eyes went wide, sweeping slowly left and right, but even their heightened senses didn’t pick anything up. “Whaddya hear?” asked the tall, goofy-looking man.

She pursed her lips. “Maybe nothing, but is there anything upstairs?”

Mecho shrugged. “Never tried. Only way up is those stairs, and it’d take too much time for us to help each other up all the way to the top. No telling when the giantess is coming back.”

“Her bedroom has to be up there.” Pavla glanced at the ceiling. “And if anyone’s going to have snacks lying around in her bedroom, I’ll bet it’s this girl.”

Andon and Mecha gaped at her, then each other, then lit up in delight. “Of course! An’ the best food!” Andon agreed. “Cheese an’ meats’ and choccies fer afters!”

“Ooh, choccies!” Mecho clutched his belly. “Haven’t had a good choccy in years! But how’re we getting up there?”

But Pavla was way ahead of them, pointing into the next room. On the floor was an array of miniature battle armaments and structures, all skillfully carved out of wood. To anyone else they would have looked like extremely precise replicas of medieval siege engines and the props of war. But the three Tinies could clearly see these were more of Lovely Mari’s souvenirs from another world, and they were probably plucked from their original time period.

“Help me with this one,” ordered the redhead, walking around to shove a large catapult to the base of the stairs.

*   *   *

Lovely Mari knelt beside a large cluster of fungus at the base of a large, old oak. “Ruffles, ridges…” she muttered, going over her notes. “Brown, tan…”

She paused and studied the frilly brown fungus. “Can’t tell if it’s a ram’s head or, uh,”—consulted her notes—“hen o’ the woods.”

It sat there, squat and mound-like and totally silent.

“Well, what the heck are ya?”

It said nothing, very slowly nursing on the decaying portion of the oak roots.

Pouting, Mari jammed her notes back in her apron pocket and snatched up her basket. “Who needs ya!” she grumped, stomping off. “You’re probably some stupid poisonous false dogbutt or somethin’!”

 *   *   *

Andon and Mecho loaded up a round rock into the pocket of the catapult, and after some adjustments Pavla fired it off. It shot up and smacked the front of the third step from the top with a bang, then rolled and banged its way back down the stairs. The Tinies yelped and sprinted to the side as it barged through.

“Think yer alignment’s off a tetch.”

Pavla glared at him and made the final adjustments. “There, that’ll take care of it.” She swept her arm grandly over the mechanism. “Load up, Andon, you’re first!”

The tall Tiny paled. “Wha? Ya want me ta jus’… sit in that thing? And ya fire it?” He looked up at the step that stopped the rock in its flight.

Pavla smirked at him. “What, you don’t trust me? We tested it three times. Now it’s ready to go.”

Before he could rejoin with “why can’t Mecho go”, the two of them trundled their friend into the arm of the catapult, and Pavla swiftly yanked the trigger rope.

Off he went, sailing through the warm air of the cabin, the huge steps racing below him. The top step loomed closer and closer, but he cleared it and sailed briefly parallel to the upper floor before rolling to a stop against a pile of books. All things considered, a successful landing.

“Hey, thet warn’t too bad!” he called back down. “Send Mecho on up!”

The chubby little guy hurtled through the air and bounced a couple times before coming to a rest, and Pavla launched herself shortly after. They dusted themselves off, gave each other a round of high-fives, then marched into the middle of the room where the capricious witch-goddess practiced her most powerful magic.

 *   *   *

Drummond placed a hand on the teen’s shoulder, where they crouched behind a washing basin across from Mari’s tremendous bed. “You see them?” he whispered.

Peering through Drummond’s compact monocular, the kid nodded. “Three of them. Two men and a woman. They’re looking at the magic table now.”

Drummond’s eyes widened. “What magic table?”

“The one surrounded with the piles of books—”

“There’s piles of books everywhere!”

“These are glowing, and sometimes they open themselves or turn around.” The teen looked back at the man in black combat gear. “The table’s full of candles, a crystal ball, stuff for writing, and some glowing wooden block that shoots sparks once in a while. Think it’s important?”

Drummond’s heart skipped a beat. “It’s worth thinking about. But keep an eye on our visitors. I don’t know if they’re regulars or not, but let’s not bank on making close friends with them.”

Buoyed by feeling useful for once, the teen returned to spying through the bedroom doorway at the motley trio as Drummond hopped down off the crude wooden vanity and returned to the library. Behind the front desk he opened a large drawer; behind a large, organized pile of money he had stashed two black books and one notebook. He pursed his lips and wrote a few more lines plus an untalented sketch in the notebook before replacing them behind the stack of cash.

The money had come from the bank vault. Drummond emptied the vault to store a dozen dead bodies of library patrons. And if he played his cards right, if his notes were correct, the money might come in handy someday. Maybe.

 *   *   *

While Lovely Mari hadn’t found all the mushrooms she was looking for, she had definitely amassed a respectable haul. Some were wrinkled and puckered, others were adorably cute and round. She grinned at these, thinking of all the things she could do with them, looking forward to showing off her cleverness to Drummond. Unfortunately, she never did find the lion’s mane mushroom—it looked so beautiful in the pictures. Briefly she toyed with the idea of just magicking one up, you know, creating one somewhere near her so she could still get experience the joy of “finding” it.

But that wouldn’t have been as special as actually finding one, of course, and if she’d done that and cooked it up and let Drummond have some, he’d know something was off. He’d know she hadn’t really found the elusive lion’s mane, and she’d have to toss him into the mortar and grind him and mash him into a paste to cover her embarrassment.

She was surprised to discover she didn’t want to get rid of him just yet. He was a stupid little Bug, of course, she could pop his head off with her thumb like a dandelion… but she was curious, you know, just to see what would happen if she kept him around. That’s all. He was full of surprises, and Mari loved surprises. Nothing more than that.

Anyway, if she hadn’t found a lion’s mane yet, she probably wasn’t going to. Maybe they didn’t grow in the Forest of Magic: her mushroom-hunting skills were first-class, it’s just that this mushroom didn’t exist here. That was probably it!

Smiling, Lovely Mari spun in her boots and skipped through the woods, back to her cabin.

 *   *   *

The trio explored the magic room for all it had, but there was no food roasting in the fireplace and no leftovers to be discovered on any pile of useless books. They looked at the bedroom door, looked at each other, and nodded resolutely.

This room was an explosion of objects, clothes strewn across the floor, bookshelves stuffed to capacity with thousands of different things, odds and ends and supplies stashed anywhere there was empty floor space. On the left were a sequence of overburdened bookcases, on their right was a large basket stuffed with maps, scrolls, special papers and vellum, and other decorative stationery. In the middle of the room was an antique tea table, and that was the likeliest spot to find something good to eat. There were piles of books everywhere, again, and a huge armoire on the left after the bookcases—no food in there.

But in the far right corner was the giantess’s bed, as enormous as it was messy, and in the far left corner was a bizarre sight. Large buildings were pushed against each other, buildings in a style the Tinies had never seen before in their lives. Many were gray stone with huge panels of mirrored glass. A few were very tall and reached up to the ceiling; most others were shorter, various sizes, and they were made out of beautiful wood or stately brick-and-mortar or styles of chiseled stone they couldn’t have imagined. It was all fascinating and, amazingly, it looked like it was perfectly scaled to their size!

Andon stared, his eyes huge, his adam’s apple wobbling up and down. Mecho could only stammer, “Juh-… juh-juh-…”

“Jackpot,” Pavla finished for him, smiling broadly. “Let’s get to it, boys.” They broke into a run and charged across the red rug beneath the tea table. When the rug ran out and their bare feet struck hardwood floor once again, however, a small explosion just before them stopped them in their tracks.

“Not so fast.” A dangerous-looking man in black appeared before them. He was also their size.

 *   *   *

Drummed stepped out of the library. He raised his .45 by his head, a Kimber Custom TLE II. Not the most powerful hand-cannon, but judging by the looks on the intruders’ faces, it had the desired effect. “What are you doing here?”

The three scavengers looked at each other. “Well, what’re you doin’ here?” challenged Andon.

Drummond walked up to him—the shaggy, goofy-looking little man was just slightly taller than himself—and punched him in the throat. Andon staggered back, clutching his neck and gasping, and Drummond fixed his serious eyes on Mecho. “What are you doing here?”

Pavla, quick as a snake, seized his wrist in both hands and tucked and rolled beneath his body. Surprised, Drummond lost his balance and fell over her body, rolling on his shoulder to recover on one knee. The tiny woman clearly had no idea what a handgun was: she clung tenaciously to his arm, effectively holding the muzzle against her chest.

They weren’t a serious challenge. Drummond let out his pent-up breath and boxed her on one ear; she released him to hug her head and roll away. The chubby, black-haired one hadn’t made a move, only stared at them in fright. Drummond rose to his feet before him and only said, “Don’t make me ask a third time.”

“We’re looking for food,” Pavla snapped. “We’re hungry, get it? Any little scrap this giantess leaves behind is more than enough for all of us, even with you.” She rose to her feet, and everything in her stance told Drummond she was ready to square off with him again.

He holstered his .45 and folded his arms. “No food up here.”

“B-b-b-but those houses!” Mecho pointed at the collected city. “There’s gotta be−”

Drummond shook his head. “Empty. Dead. Just a collection of the crazy giantess that lives here.”

Andon, recovered, stared at him in alarm. “So she’s really crazy, ain’t she! Ah knew it! Din’t we know thet?” He swatted Mecho’s arm, and his buddy nodded enthusiastically.

Pavla raised her narrow jaw at Drummond. “Then how are you making out, huh? How are you surviving in this place?”

“Just as you said. Scraps of food, wherever I can find them. Barely enough to get by.”

She narrowed her eyes and planted her fists on her hips. “You’re lying. I can smell it on you.” She was about to say something else but swallowed it at the last second. Her auburn ponyfalls swayed gently as she shook her head, considering her opponent.

Drummond had a weakness for beautiful, competent women, and this little fighter was worming her way into his heart. Inwardly he cursed himself for this vulnerability. He was getting distracted with the notion of training her to fight, learning her knowledge of sneaking and the surrounding woods. She was strong and fast, she didn’t trust much outside of herself, and she had the ability to read someone quickly. All of these were admirable, survivable qualities. He certainly didn’t need the two goofballs that tagged along with her, but if he could forge some kind of alliance…

He snapped out of his reverie at the distant explosion of the front door slamming in its jamb. “Drummond! I’m ho-o-o-ome!” The giantess’s cheerful voice rang up the staircase.

The core temperatures dropped in all four tiny people. Drummond and Pavla said “fuck” simultaneously, glanced at each other, then stared at the top of the staircase.

 *   *   *

Lovely Mari danced into her kitchen, setting her basket of foraged mushrooms beside the sink for washing. She was delighted with the variety as well as the quantity, and she knew Drummond would be proud of her too. Not that she cared what a stupid Bug thought, of course.

Should she wash them up and bring them up to him to show off? Or should she go up and get him, bring him down to see, and maybe show him the rest of her cozy little home as well? She decided on the latter: the sun and the birds had lifted her heart, her amazing mushroom-hunting expedition had been a rousing success, and she felt particularly generous toward her strange little man. Just for today, though, just for a little bit.

She ran to the staircase but then skidded in her tracks, staring. “Drummond?” she called up again. “What’s my catapult doing at the bottom of the stairs? Were you playing with it?”

 *   *   *

Drummond glared at Pavla, as he’d decided she was the leader of the group. “Catapult?”

“How’dya think we got up here?” said Andon. “Hey, how’d you get up here?”

Pavla’s expression was dark. “I didn’t think we’d be here this long. We were just supposed to zip in, grab what we needed, and get out again.”

Mecho snapped out of his fear-induced trance. “The larder’s all locked up! And the kitchen’s cleaner than we’ve ever seen it!”

Drummond rubbed his jaw and tried to mask his surprise. These three were clearly familiar with the downstairs level, maybe all of it, somewhere he’d never been before. Chagrined, he suddenly realized he needed to protect them long enough to learn everything they knew. “All right, come on, back to the city. We’ll work something out.” Reflexively he grabbed Pavla’s hand; she snatched it back angrily.

“Why should we trust you?” she hissed, eyes frantically searching for a better place to hide.

Andon and Mecho disagreed with her, urging her to run with them to the nearest buildings, because maybe there was food here after all, and anyway, there were more of them than there was of this guy. “No offense, mister,” said Mecho guiltily.

“Believe me, none taken.” The giantess’s boots thundered up the stairs, and Drummond turned to face Pavla. “I’m your best chance of survival here, dammit. This is my turn, I have an ‘in’ with the−”

“Sellout!” she spat the word in his face. “You’re a fucking house-Tiny! I knew it!”

He swung to backhand her across the chops, but she dodged him effortlessly. Her foot shot out and bent his knee the wrong way, and he collapsed like a sack of broccoli.

“C’mon, guys! Under the−” Pavla looked at the bed: the frame was solid to the ground. “How about the−” but the armoire was across the room from them. She glared at the city: so many places to hide, so many dark rooms, buildings behind other buildings, but too far away now.

“Drummond! Are you okay?”

The three Tinies spun around. Atop a small, crude vanity, a slender and much younger person crawled out from behind a ceramic pitcher. Drummond swore, grabbed his knee and kicked himself across the floor with his good leg, distancing himself from the intruders. “Stay up there, kid! Don’t come down!”

The teen hopped off the vanity, anticipating the slower rate of descent like he’d seen in Drummond, and ran toward them all. The three Tinies spun to face him, a much easier target, and Drummond clawed at his holster while still clutching his knee.

 *   *   *

Lovely Mari glanced at her magical studies room. Nothing was out of place, but her finely focused vision suggested traces of things that should not have been there. Little resonant traces on the ground… the SWAT operator? No, there were three little tracks of things scurrying around in here.

She bit her full bottom lip and cursed. Tinies. They’d broken in again, looking for food. She could’ve sworn she’d cleaned up their last colony around her house. What did it take to keep them away?

But if they were here, they could be in…

Mari cried out in alarm and ran to the doorway of her bedroom. Inside her chest, a small but fierce blaze abruptly ignited.

 *   *   *

The giantess appeared, as loud and huge as a peal of thunder, fists on her hips, her crimson eyes scanning the room furiously. When she spotted the Tinies, they felt the heat of her gaze fall upon them.

Andon and Mecho sprinted away but in the wrong directions: they charged into each other and fell on their asses. The teen, turning to stare at the giantess while in full sprint, tripped over them and spilled gracelessly. Pavla only swore and started to run, but then the explosions started.

One of these was the huge boot that fell from the heavens and pounded into the rug, just where the female Tiny was about to run; the other landed on the other side of the three oafs struggling to right themselves. Pavla fell to the rug, clutching her head and straining to look up, but she only got a glimpse of a polished leather kneeboot and the dark inner recesses of layered skirts far overhead, before the giantesses huge, pink hands flew down to scoop them all up.

They raced up through space, they tumbled in her palms, and before they knew it, the beautiful visage of their goddess filled their sky and glared at them all. In enormous crimson irises, heart-shaped pupils flickered left and right, scanning, reading, assessing. Despite being clothed in a crude woven jacket and rough little pants, like her friends, Pavla felt naked before the giantess and unconsciously covered herself.

 *   *   *

“What the hell is going on around here?” Mari demanded of the little people rolling around in her hands. She kept tilting her cupped palms to prevent anyone from being able to stand up and try anything stupid, because stupidity seemed to be Tinies’ chiefest pursuit.

Among the voices calling up at her, the only one she recognized was Drummond’s. “My goddess, please let me explain…” Then he cried out in pain.

Mari’s hands held still and she peered at him. The little guy was trying to protect his leg, which he held at an odd angle. “Oh, no, Drummond! Did I hurt you?” She pinned him in place with her thumb and tumbled all the strange Tinies into her other hand, seizing them angrily in her fist. How dare they hurt Drummond! She shook her little man in black out, then laid him tenderly between her massive, cushioning boobs, his head against her chest, taking special care to let him protect his leg as he needed to do it. He stared up at her in awe as he slowly stretched his leg upon the rise of one breast and got comfortable.

“Fucking house-Tiny,” someone muttered in her fist. Mari gave them all a fierce squeeze, and she took some pleasure in all their squeals of agony. The fire inside her began to grow.

“It wasn’t you, my goddess,” Drummond called up to her. “There was an altercation. I’m fine, my goddess, I just need to stay off my leg for a few days.” But she saw the pain he was trying to cover up in his face, through her highly sensitized vision, and her heart melted for the brave little man.

Bending carefully at the knees, Mari used the arm that held the Tinies to sweep all the objects off of her tea table; they spilled to the floor but caught themselves, hovered, and turned right-side up, instead of smashing and scattering. Standing up, the capricious witchy-witch cast a little spell to elevate the tea table so it hovered around her midsection, and upon this she roughly dumped all the naughty, unknown Tinies that broke into her room.

 *   *   *

The teen fell to his back. His ribs ached from the giantess’s fist, and his hands and arms hurt from when he fell over the two wild-looking men and hit the floor wrong. He was always doing that, walking into things, tripping over things and falling into other things. It was his hope that Drummond, mean as he was, could teach him some coordination or other skills. But now he was lying on a huge table that looked like it was hovering in the air. His heart started to pound: he was terrified of heights.

Beside him, the wild people were recovering and picking themselves up. The chubby one and the tall one with messy hair looked frightened, about as frightened as he felt, but the pretty woman with the two long, perky pony tails looked pissed. That, at least, was familiar: the prettiest girls at school always seemed to be upset with him for some reason.

Painfully he picked himself up, staying very far away from the edge of the table but not getting too near the three crazy people. Shaking his head, he looked up at the giantess who held them all captive.

His eyes widened. It was the girl he saw at the beach, the one who sat on him and trapped him in her bikini bottom, but she looked totally different now. Now she had a broad, peaked witch’s hat with a flowing white bow around the crown, and she was wearing a puffy white blouse and a black velvet vest that seemed to fit her very snugly. The blouse itself was unbuttoned on top, and her monstrous boobs stuck way out, thrusting over the table and nearly blocking her face.

He immediately sprang an erection in his baggy jeans.

 *   *   *

Damnit, damnit, damnit. This wasn’t how Drummond wanted it to go down at all.

Except yes, maybe the boobs part. That was an unexpected delight. He was comfortably nestled in Mari’s deep cleavage, her breasts swelling pleasantly on either side of him, and she’s the one who put him there. It was so hard to think about escaping back to his world or private training sessions with the wild Tiny woman when he was embedded in heaven like this.

Well, let it ride.

But that fucking idiot teenage boy! What was he thinking? Drummond couldn’t protect him from up here, and if Mari didn’t like his explanation for how the kid got here, he could lose much more than his privileged perch in her succulent décolletage.

He pinched the bridge of his nose and breathed deeply. There was still a way out of this, a way to minimize casualties and gain the intelligence he required. There had to be, he just had to think.

But it was difficult to focus, when every slight gesture Mari made or every partial twist of her chest deliciously throbbed her boobs around every last inch of him. Even the heat of her body felt sweeter, somehow, as it came through her enormous breasts, if it were possible for heat to come in flavors.

Sometimes it was damned inconvenient to be a man.

 *   *   *

“You three, I know,” the giantess thundered at the trio of scavengers. “I thought I destroyed your last colony. What’re you still doing here?”

Mecho began to earnestly explain how their vast, far-reaching colony had hundreds of exits, when Pavla smacked him hard on the back of his skull. “We fled when you destroyed our last home,” she said, glaring up into the angry crimson eyes. “We suffered greatly. Our village is reduced to a fraction of what it was, but still there are not enough resources to go around.” She hung her head, as though defeated. “We are starving, giantess. We don’t require much, but we have nothing.”

She elbows her companions, who similarly hung their heads, and Andon made a show of pretending to stifle his weeping.

“That sounds horrible.” The giantess’s voice was a soft blessing upon the heads of the three. “I can’t believe I’ve done anything so cruel to anyone before.”

The wild Tinies secretly traded sneaky grins with each other.

The giantess’s heart-shaped pupils dilated briefly. “I wiped out your entire colony, huh? Everyone you care about? All your dreams and ambitions?”

To his credit, Mecho put on a reasonable performance, raising his hands in supplication. “Nearly everything, oh mighty giant-lady. But we don’t hold this against you. I know we must seem like itty-bitty little pests to you…” He ran out of steam and faltered.

The giantess’s voice flowed like warm caramel, full of love and sympathy. “I truly can’t believe I was capable of such a dastardly deed. Drummond,” she addressed her considerable cleavage, “have you ever heard of anything so horrible?”

 *   *   *

Drummond, lulled quite comfortably in Lovely Mari’s opiatic bosom, glanced up at his goddess. He could only perceive her visage the way a man at the bottom of a cliff can study the cliff face, but he did catch a certain twinkle in her crimson eye, a certain slight upturn of one corner of her mouth, exposing a single, glinting canine.

“Never in my life, my beloved goddess,” he said loudly. “Except for Green Bay.”

“Green Bay?” Mari mused. “When was that?”

“Right before you leveled Detroit.”

She hmm’ed dramatically. “Was that when I blew a miles-wide hole into the ground?”

“Oh no, my goddess. That was at the four-state intersection of Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico.”

“Well, then what did I do in Green Bay?”

Drummond cleared his throat, for the benefit of the listeners on the floating tea table. “You started to eat an entire sports stadium in Green Bay, my sweet goddess, but you had to wait until you ripped the one in Detroit out of the ground.”

Mari’s laughter split the atmosphere in her room. “Oh, that’s right! There’ve been so many cities under my belt, I lose track.”

“Don’t you mean, under your feet, my illustrious goddess?”

Mari and Drummond laughed together. The three feral Tinies looked at each other in confusion, while the teen only cowered and hid his crotch in his hands as casually as possible.

The magical blonde goddess tilted her head. “What’s wrong, you thieving, lying little Tinies? You look like you don’t understand something.”

Andon and Mecho exchanged glances, but Pavla spoke up. “I apologize for our ignorance, massive and great giant-lady, but we don’t know what a Detroit is.”

“Oh-h-h-h, that’s right! You’ve never left this dimension or even this world!” She leveled a chilling glare down at them. “Or my yard, apparently. Drummond, would you please explain these strange words we’ve been using?”

Avec plaisir, ma géante délicieux,” he replied. “Detroit and Green Bay are cities in the world where I come from. They have a combined population of 800,000. Ah, but we forgot Cleveland.” He looked up at the beautiful young woman. “The library.”

“The library!” she laughed. Her tremendous breasts heaved and bounced the little SWAT operator in a luxurious ride.

“That brings the death toll to around 1.2 million people. And that was just last week.” Drummond paused. “This isn’t counting all the people she stomped along the way, of course, or the people who died in the earthquakes she caused with every single footstep.”

“Or the people I smooshed under my butt,” Mari chimed in. “That happens a lot.”

Drummond looked up at her. “Does it? A lot?”

“All the time.” She grinned back at him. “It might still.”

 *   *   *

Mecho was petrified with fear, so Pavla punched Andon in the shoulder. “She’s lying! Don’t listen to her!”

“A million people,” he mumbled. “Ah never even heard o’ that number.”

“No one can do anything like that! Another planet? What the fuck’s that supposed to mean?”

The tall, shaggy Tiny only sank to his knees on the wooden tea table and repeated the brand-new number to himself quietly.

Pavla scowled. Both of them were useless. She wheeled and turned to the teenager hanging out nearby. “You! Boy! What’s your problem?”

The teen’s problem was that he thought his dick was about to explode.

 *   *   *

“What the hell is that kid’s deal?” Mari whispered to the little man in her boobs.

“He’s cool, my goddess. He can’t do anything, he just helps out with cleaning in your city.”

“How’d he get here?”

“Remember when you went to the Virgin Islands?”

“Yeah?”

Drummond smiled at her. “You caught a virgin in your pants. Seriously, he doesn’t mean any harm.”

But Mari was staring hard at the frail little boy. The red-haired Tiny had advanced on him and was poking him in the chest, yelling at him. He made no move to defend himself, only cowered.

To no one, Mari said, “I have an idea for a game.” The fire inside her chest was now a raging inferno, and it spread to her arms and legs and head and everywhere, everywhere.

The smile faded from Drummond’s face, and ice water flushed his veins.

 *   *   *

“That looks good to you, huh?” Pavla scolded the teen, who could only nod miserably. She snorted and stomped around. “I will never understand what it is with you stupid men! A big pocket of fat builds up on a woman and you lose your fucking minds! Like these drooling idiots!”

She pointed at her companions who were still numb with terror, somewhere between consoling each other and staring into the maw of death. Only occasionally did they glance skyward, where the giantess’s overly abundant boobs hovered impossibly above them. They glanced, they smiled for a little bit, and then they sunk back into despair.

Pavla folded her arms and gave the teen a chilly side-eye. “We used to be friends from childhood. We played together, we explored together, all sorts of fun stuff. And then this happened,” she hefted her firm breasts and slapped her ass, “and they just went stupid. No more playing, no more exploring… at least, not the good kind.” She closed her eyes and scowled, turning away with real bitterness. “After that it was all ‘let’s go sneak behind the food stores’ or ‘do you want to see something’. Now I can only get them to cooperate on food raids if I promise to let them touch one of these.” She stomped up to the teen and thrust her boobs against him. She stood nearly a head taller than him, and her proud breasts mashed against his collarbones, just below his chin.

He stared directly at them, not even trying to hide his wide-eyed gawking.

With a curled lip she snorted and shoved him away from her. The teen stumbled, screeched, and fled to the center of the table, curling up in the fetal position and shivering.

She was about to ask him what was wrong when a shadow fell over them all. Her head shot left and right, watching the darkness spread, and finally thought to look up. The giantess’s long, slender fingers were fiddling with the buttons on her blouse.

“Oh, what the hell is this,” she muttered, backing away.

 *   *   *

Before Lovely Mari scooped her luscious breasts out of their cups, she took care to lift Operator Drummond out of her cleavage. “Where would be the best place for you,” she mused. “I can’t set you on the table with these savages.” She chuckled blackly. “Not with what’s about to happen.”

Drummond said he could sit on her shoulder, with a couple fistfuls of her hair, and there she placed him. She clapped, her loosening bosom heaving ever closer to the table, and he favored his leg away from her jostling shoulder.

“Can you guess what comes next?” Mari called to the little people below. She gently heaved one enormous boob out of her bra, needing both hands to manage it, then offered the same treatment to the other one. Now her tight-laced bodice started to pinch beneath her breasts, so she untied that and tugged it wide enough to be comfortable. And then she collapsed to the table, resting on her forearms, her tremendous bosom slamming into the wooden surface and rippling massively.

“Go on, guess.” She smiled with all of her teeth. The Tinies, however, said nothing: the men stared at the vast nipple a few feet away from them, while the woman only stared up at Mari warily.

“Feats of Strength!” Mari declared, laughing and clapping. The miniature people covered their ears against the din. “Today we get to see who’s fit to survive! What do they call that theory, Drummond?”

Swinging in the air by her ear, he said, “That theory’s outdated, and it was mistaken to begin with, my goddess.”

She pushed her fat bottom lip out. “You’re no fun, little man. Let’s see how you two do, though.” Parting her huge breasts with each hand, she grinned down at Andon and Mecho, who to this point had been transfixed by their view of the giantess’s chest.

“Get away from there, you assholes!” Parva screamed at them, but they didn’t seem to hear. They remained motionless right up to the point that Mari’s great hands wrapped around them.

Hoisting the hapless tiny men before her face, she told them, “You two will be the champions of the Tiny colony right outside my front door, understand? I’m going to task you with one physical challenge that you have to overcome, and if you do, I’ll set you and your girlfriend free.” She puckered her lips in thought and stared at the ceiling. “In fact, I’ll even leave you a third of a sausage and a fifth of a loaf of bread once a week. How’s that sound?” She brought them up before each of her shimmering eyes. “I’ll even leave them right outside your so-called ‘secret portal’. How’s that sound?”

In their current state—shocked, the wind crushed from their lungs—they couldn’t reply but merely managed to nod their heads in assent.

“You didn’t even ask what the challenge was!” Mari smirked and rested them upon the table just before her. “Quite the little champions… or should I say ‘champignons’? Eh, Drummond?” She swung her head to look at him on her shoulder, but she only whipped him around with her locks of hair, coming to rest against her back. Feeling him there, she laboriously canted her head to the side and swung him carefully back to rest upon her shoulder.

“That’s not gonna get old,” she muttered. “As for you two: I hope you had a good breakfast and have stretched properly, because here we go!”

She instructed them to stand up, which they did, shakily.

She ordered them to raise their hands over their heads, which they did.

She hoisted up one massive boob with her two hands, held it over the wild-looking Tinies, and then dropped it from at least twice their height. It fell a short distance to the table, where the men offered absolutely no resistance.

Pavla screamed silently. The last sight she had of her compatriots was a split second where Andon’s spine crumpled and Mecho’s legs split two extra ways, and then there was nothing but a tremendous spill of fleshy, peachy breast covering them completely.

“What… what was…” Behind her, the teen had recovered from his shame and was staring at the giantess’s massive boob in horror. “Are they…”

Pavla turned to him and saw the shock on his face. His eyes were huge and his face had gone pale. She ran to him and knelt down, resting his head on her lap and blocking her view with his body. “Oh no, boy, just breathe,” she urged him, fighting her own tears. “Just breathe now, please, listen to me. Just look at me and breathe.” She stroked his hair until his eyes slowly rolled up to her face. She smiled through tear-streaked cheeks and nodded at him. “Just look at me and breathe.” He gasped and nodded back.

Lovely Mari’s laughter rang out. “And that wasn’t any fun at all! What happened to you guys?” She lifted up her boob and heaved it to the side. On the table were the broken little men, limbs mangled every which-way, and spreading pools of scarlet beneath them. Pavla refused to look, cradling the frightened boy.

“Oh well, to the victors, the spoils.” She set her breast down and scooped the little men in her palms. “Not that you were victorious or anything. What the−… Oh, you’re not even dead! You little fakers! Is there anything you won’t lie about?”

Through the showers of golden hair, Drummond strained to perceive the state of the little men. He could only just make out that they were lying one in each palm, losing blood rapidly, with extensive trauma to… good lord, everything. If they were alive, they wouldn’t be for long, not as they were.

But Mari couldn’t leave them as they were. The men disappeared in her palms as she swung her arms behind her, where Drummond couldn’t see, and below the table, where Pavla and the teen couldn’t see.

Pavla, however, heard the rustle of cloth and the whistle through the air the giantess’s long fingers made, and she just glimpsed her handfuls of two badly injured Tiny men disappear over the edge of the tea table. She checked the frightened teen in her lap, then craned back to glare at the giantess. “What did you do with them? You monstrous bitch!”

The powerful young goddess paid her no mind, as her attention was elsewhere. All Pavla saw was her lissome upper torso twist and shift to one side, and her arms… operated differently. They were bent but one was bent sharper than the other. The giantess’s expression was one of concentration, tip of her tongue sticking out, eyes rolled to the ceiling… then they winced with exertion… then they fluttered with a certain kind of thrill, a blush came upon her cheeks, and when her hands returned to the table they only contained Mecho.

All the air sucked out of Pavla’s lungs. She couldn’t even react as her mind raced to piece together what had just happened—arriving at the correct conclusion, in fact.

Drummond was unable to see any of this, instead monitoring the wild little woman’s facial register. He surmised something truly awful had happened. Andon’s words echoed in his head: So she’s really crazy, ain’t she! He inhaled slowly, concentrating, thinking, careful not even to mutter to himself as he hung beside Mari’s darling, well-shaped ear.

“You… you…” Pavla gently shoved the teen off her thighs and turned to rise before the insane giantess. “You horrible… witch…”

“I’m the best witch!” Mari preened at the little woman, who took one step and then another toward her. “I don’t think care for the way you said that, however, so let’s finish up the final round so I can get to you.”

That stopped Pavla in her tracks. She wasn’t done?

The teen, mostly recovered, pushed himself up to kneel on the table, making sure he was still in the center of it. “Drummond? Where’d you go?” He looked all over the table, even between the giantess’s huge tits (which were less sexy now, in his eyes), but he couldn’t see the military specialist anywhere.

Mari sighed. “Okay, very quickly now,” she muttered, disappointment dripping from each syllable. She raised her palm to her face, and her other hand gently plucked at Mecho’s fat, weakened arm. She lifted it by the wrist and placed his hand just inside her pink, puffy lips, and she winked at the little woman with the sexy red ponyfalls.

Pavla gasped. “You can’t.”

Mari merely shrugged and leered at her in mock confusion, then sealed her lips around Mecho’s wrist and effortlessly sucked his arm inside. His chubby body slid across her palm, stopping only when she’d pulled him in up to his shoulder.

Without blinking, Mari stared Pavla down. She parted her lips to grin, and her two rows of massive, shiny teeth only moved the slightest bit. There was a crunch and a snap, and Mecho uttered something like a low moan that dwindled quickly.

Pavla’s hands flew to her mouth. She gaped at the heart-shaped pupils that grew so huge in the giantess’s eyes now. She wondered why hearts, why was there a symbol of love in this grotesque nightmare’s eyes.

Mari only rolled Mecho over, tugged his other arm into her lips, and repeated the procedure. Bright red blood coated her teeth this time, that was the only difference.

Now Drummond was able to watch this spectacle, only partially blocked by his goddess’s gently round, peach-hued cheek. This went beyond anything he could have guessed she was capable of. It was one thing to stomp out a city population when each person was only fractions of an inch; it was something else to slowly gnaw off the limbs of a tiny, broken man the size of her palm.

“You guys aren’t laughing,” Mari observed. The teen was kneeling on the table and looked like he was about to vomit. Pavla’s expression was something else, a blend of horror and yet the strangest tinge of fury. And she imagined Drummond was going to be a stick in the mud about this too, so she didn’t even bother checking in with her little SWAT commando.

Alone in her humor once more, Mari sighed heavily. “Okay guys, this is going to be super funny, so if you don’t laugh at this… I don’t know what your problem is.” She plucked Mecho’s unconscious body from her palm and pinched his huge belly between her thumb and forefinger in order to make him appear to be standing upright on the table. She even turned the little Tiny toward his friend.

Pavla couldn’t look away. She saw Mecho’s head loll sickly to the side, blood and saliva running down his jowls. His shoulders and sides were steeped thoroughly in deep scarlet, muddy and pasty with blood. His legs no longer functioned, broken in one thigh and the other twisted with shattered tibia and fibula. The giantess held him hovering a foot above the wooden table surface, and his legs dragged uselessly.

“Are you watching? Don’t look away, this is seriously funny.” So saying, Mari mimed the broken little man hopping across the table. “Doot-dee-doo,” she sang in a parody of his voice, “what a lovely day this is. Oh no, a Tyrannosaurus Rex!” Her hand jerked him along in a sloppy, nightmarish sprint, and then her head lunged down from above. Mari opened her jaws wide, eyes leering to make sure the little woman was watching, and with her teeth she gently plucked the fat little Tiny away from the table.

She snapped her head back and released him at just the right moment to send him spinning slowly in the space above her head. With a roar, she opened her maw as wide as it would go, and the tiny man bounced against her lower row of teeth before tumbling into the back of her throat. She made a big production of straining to get him down in one gulp, then roared again like a triumphant carnivorous dinosaur. As the denouement, she displayed her empty mouth to the teen and the appalled little woman, and as she showed it off she burped a little.

*   *   *

Mari’s hands flew to her mouth and she blushed, giggling helplessly. “Oh holy crap, I burped! Did you hear that? Drummond?” Getting no reaction from the two little people, she seized the locks that dangled from his fists and swung him right in front of her face. “Did you hear that? It wasn’t my best burp, but I was showing these two how I swallowed the guy all-gone, and I burped at them!” She released him back to her shoulder, laughed some more and apologized for burping.

The two tiny people on the table looked up at her blankly.

She shifted on her heels, commenting that she couldn’t believe the tall Tiny was still so squirmy.

The teen’s eyes fell to the edge of the table, as if trying to bend his vision down to understand what she was talking about. Pavla merely covered her face in her hands.

Lovely Mari studied them for a bit longer. She poked gently at the little woman; Pavla swatted at her fingertip once, then turned her back to the giantess and covered her face again. Her shoulders were shaking slightly. The teen, awkward and shy, walked up to her and tried to put his arms around her. She let him and rested her forehead on his shoulder, and he hugged her tighter.

Drummond sighed and, swinging closer to Mari’s darling ear, gently whispered, “My goddess…”

Mari also sighed, just heavier and more dramatically. She trundled her enormous breasts back into her bra and buttoned up her blouse to its normal, only moderately scandalous setting. Her bodice was too much trouble to bother with right now.

“Okay, fine,” she groaned. “You’re free to go.”

The teen looked up at the giantess, and after a few moments the Tiny woman did too. “What?” she said.

“Did I stutter? G’wan, get the hell outta here before I change my mind.”

Pavla’s jaw dropped, then her face flushed. She pointed a finger up at the enormous woman. “Do you think you can just−” she started, but the teen, of all people, started dragging her to the edge of the table.

“This is your chance!” he hissed. “You saw what she can do to us little people! You have to get out of here while you can!”

She wheeled on him. “Do you think she’d seriously let me go free? Do you know anything about this demented monstress?”

The teen’s incomprehending stare answered all her questions for her. Pavla looked at him and her shoulders slumped slightly. She looked back at the giantess, who was rolling her eyes at the ceiling, drumming her long fingers against the tabletop. Deep within the forest of her golden tresses, the menacing man in black met her glance for a moment, saluted her, then hung his head in what she took to be shame or something close.

All became clear to Pavla. She nodded at him, though he wasn’t watching, and took a deep breath. She asked the teen, “So how am I supposed to get down from here?”

His body jolted with fear. “You… but you…” The threat of the edge of the table came back to him.

She grabbed his shoulders and shook him. “You. Kid. Focus on me… focus.” When his eyes rolled back to hers, she continued. “How do I get down from here? You jumped off her vanity with no problem, right before you came charging at us.” Her voice cracked on the last word.

The teen took a couple sharp, jagged breaths, but then some color returned to his face. “Oh… Drummond taught me that. Gravity… works differently here… for us.” The kid squinted. “I don’t know how it works, but… I guess because we have less mass?”

Pavla’s long, perky ponyfalls swayed as she assessed the edge of the table and looked back to the teen. “Even up here? I won’t get hurt if I jump off?”

“Probably?”

She frowned, but only for his benefit. “Fine. I’ll do it, but on one condition: you have to come with me.”

His body trembled in her grasp. “I can’t… can’t! No… heights…”

She pulled him in close, her eyes blazing. “You listen to me. If you think I have any chance of surviving this fall and that crazy-ass bitch, then you fucking show me you believe what you’re telling me right now.”

“I… don’t make me…”

Her eyes narrowed. “Then you’re a fucking liar, just like her and that traitorous little house-Tiny on her shoulder.” She shoved him away. “I have no need for someone like you.”

The teen looked as though he might cry. But he didn’t. He met her gaze and slowly straightened up, permitting himself only one more sobbing gasp.

“Okay,” he said.

Pavla blinked. “Are you serious?”

His mouth tightened and he took her hand, and she let him. She let him lead the way to the edge of the table, where the giantess’s desultory bedroom yawned at tremendous distance before them. Even Pavla felt a little dizzied by the vast expanse of empty space, and she couldn’t imagine what the teen was going through, but she was a little proud of him at this point.

The giantess turned to watch them, the little bodies picking their way slowly across the wooden surface, walking right up to the rounded edge. “Huh,” she murmured.

Pavla gave his hand a squeeze as they contemplated the fall. “You know, I was just… being tough with you. But I know you’re brave, you don’t have to do this.”

The teen turned to her with an uncharacteristically sober gaze. “One.”

“What?”

“Two.”

She squeezed his hand once more and let go. On three, they stepped out into empty space.

Drummond could only see them disappear over the edge. Few things in life surprised him anymore, but that scrawny, shy teen pretty much blew his mind with this gesture.

 *   *   *

The fall took a long time.

Wind whistled past the two diminutive bodies as they hurtled through the bedroom atmosphere. For the first several seconds the teen clenched his eyes tight, but when nothing happened for a while he slowly opened them. Pavla watched the transition as his fear started to thaw, his eyes darting around the room in wonder. They indeed were drifting almost lazily through space, the red rug taking forever to reach them.

The teen looked at Pavla with something approaching delight in his eyes. Then his eyes flicked down, his cheeks reddened, and his head turned away.

Pavla looked down: her crude jacket was flung wide open, flaring behind her. Her firm abs and round, proud breasts jutted out in their momentary weightlessness. She laughed and would’ve ruffled his hair if it wouldn’t have sent them both spinning uncontrollably.

The ground expanded and became less hazy, and then they hit it. They would have been fine on the hardwood floor, but the shock of their travel was largely dampened by the plush rug. They rolled awkwardly to the side and came to a rest, breathing hard, exhilarated.

Pavla sat up and then the teen did. They looked at each other for a long moment before breaking into relieved laughter.

“That was amazing!” he yelled.

Pavla stood up and pulled him up to her, and embraced him in a strong hug that lasted nearly a minute. “You are kind of an idiot,” she purred in his ear, “but you’re braver than anyone I know. Thank you for freeing me, little warrior.” She cupped his jaw in her fingertips and kissed him lightly on the lips. He closed his eyes, ecstatic with the extremes of emotional experience, and didn’t notice the single tear glistening on her cheek.

She turned and sprinted away, toward the bedroom door, beyond which lay the staircase.

The teen dreamily opened his eyes and watched her round hips churning with her exercise, her auburn ponyfalls streaming behind her.

A gigantic black boot appeared out of nowhere, and Pavla disappeared.

“Ba-dum-bump, pssh,” Mari said.

 *   *   *

“I hate that no one thinks I’m funny,” muttered Lovely Mari. Her head rested in one palm, elbow on the mattress, and she and Drummond lay in bed. Her fingertip idly traced around his little body. She’d stripped him down but left his pants on, at his insistence. “I know I’m funny. Why doesn’t anyone else?”

His arms were folded behind his head and he stared at the ceiling. “My goddess is a hoot-and-a-half when she wishes to be,” he assured her quietly.

She smirked at him prettily, a dimple forming in her peach-soft cheek. “Drummond! Are you upset about what happened today?”

Realizing she was sensitive to him avoiding her gaze, he forced himself to look up into the huge black hearts in her eyes. “My goddess is wise beyond my comprehension.”

“Aww, lil’ military dude!! Those Tinies are just pests. There’re fucking hundreds of them next to the house. Trust me, another week an’ they’ll be scratchin’ around for scraps all over again.” She leaned down and covered his bare chest with huge, pillowy lips, leaving a line of saliva across his pecs. “They don’t remember, an’ they don’t learn from each others’ mistakes. You’ll see.”

The arousal that surged in his body stiffened his cock and made his wrenched knee throb angrily. He hated how his skin flooded with blood when she did this, whether smothering him in affection or merely looming over his shrunken self. Betrayed by his own body, yet again. If he had a little more self-control… if he could think quicker…

He closed his eyes but only saw the wild Tiny woman’s scowling face, her eyes burning straight through him. So he opened them again and instead counted the tiny hairs in his goddess’s nostril.

 *   *   *

Across the room, the teen lay in the aisle of the cold, dead cathedral. The god for whom this structure was built perhaps did not exist in this world, and perhaps he never had. Conversely—perversely—the teen was intimately acquainted with the goddess of this land, knew what she looked like, where she lived, everything.

The teen had torn down one of the long velvet curtains in this building and wrapped it around himself. For the past half hour he struggled against sobbing, instead clenching his fists in the thick fabric and growling, in his soft voice, a mantra.

“Stronger… brave… stronger…”

But eventually he did succumb to weeping.

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